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A $7 million sticking point

There's a $7 million question on the table, but county lawmakers aren't talking about it.

Not during a public meeting this morning, at least.

The county late last year agreed to pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit over a near-drowning that left a woman severely brain damaged.

At issue now is how the county should pay for it. County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, a Democrat, has proposed borrowing the money through a five-year judgement bond. Some Republicans in the Legislature want the county to pay cash for at least a portion of the payment to save on interest costs.

That's where discussions stalled. Poloncarz needs eight votes to approve a bond resolution. Democrats make up six of the 11-member Legislature. Without at least two legislators from the Republican-led minority caucus, the item can't get passed.

The issue provoked a lengthy discussion during a Finance and Management Committee meeting late last month. But this morning, when the committee met again, there was still no solution. This time, however, there was no discussion.

Legislator Timothy Hogues, D-Buffalo, who chairs the finance committee, kept the item on the table.

Why was it skipped over?

"We still haven't come to a resolution on that," Hogues said after the meeting.

The settlement payment is due in March.

--Denise Jewell Gee


Erie County executive | Erie County Legislature
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Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

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Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

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